Sometimes I have a hard time deciding what to write about on here, and I'm interested in what everyone likes to read about. So please check out the poll on the upper right and check all the boxes that apply. The poll will be up for the next week, and please feel free to put additional thoughts in the comments (anonymously, if you feel it's necessary). Thanks!
I've been to Chili's. Again. Chili's is super annoying, as I think I might have mentioned once or twice, but it's also home to flashes of incandescent brilliance. Of course, much of it doesn't survive the harsh light of the new dawn after the margaritas have worn off, but once in a while something really sticks with me. The other night, one of my fabulous Osan pals and I were enjoying child-free time and lamenting various facts of life as an Air Force accessory. It is very hard to get toted around from base to base every few years, losing your home, your job, your friends and everything else you're familiar with all at once only to have to start over someplace new and possibly entirely unfamiliar, sometimes with your active duty spouse gone. Military spouses routinely have babies alone, move their households halfway across the world by themselves and endure months or years as single parents while their active duty spouses endanger their lives. It is a ridiculous way to live, really. But that isn't what this post is about.
No, this post is about how hard it is to be a man in our society. We all know it's hard to be a woman: You're always supposed to be smooth, cellulite-free, and well-dressed with brilliant home-schooled children, a high-powered career and a gourmet kitchen that's constantly in use. And it's ridiculously hard to be a military spouse, because you're supposed to do all that stuff plus shut up about how hard you're getting reamed every damn day, all while under the constant scrutiny of those who have a vested interest in your silence, but what about the poor guys? I've always considered myself a feminist, but I don't even think there's a word for an advocate for all things masculine. Except maybe 'man'. And they're not mutually exclusive, either. I care about everybody, dammit! I would call myself a peoplist or a humanist but those both sound totally gay. Oh, don't get your panties in a wad, I mean gay-as-an-insult-in-an-ironic-sense-because-I-grew-up-in-the-70's-in-south-King-County, not gay-as-an-appropriate-adjective-for-all-things-lame, okay? So, I'll just be a person with many important viewpoints. There's no catchy slogan to go with it, but at least it's accurate. To me. To you, maybe not so much....
Maybe you think I'm crazy. And maybe I am, but I can still be right. Two more things that aren't mutually exclusive. How is it so hard to be a man, right? Well, it starts early. A girl that plays with trucks is cute, but a boy who wants to play with Barbie is ridiculed or shamed. Studies show that parents and teachers regularly give positive reinforcement to girls who show their emotions and negative or neutral reinforcement to boys who express emotions. Boys learn early that they're supposed to be tough and suck up whatever is bothering them and it's to their detriment, and ours. If they make it to adulthood with minimal permanent damage from this, it gets harder still. They're supposed to be the provider and take care of everything with no assistance, because to need help or express doubt is weak. Society expects, and demands, a high-paying career and an obsessive interest in sports, or they're suspect, not quite right. Maybe even gay! The result is a group of people who have severely limited personal and professional options because of their gender. Sound familiar?
To make matters worse, men are increasingly being affected by the same 'social diseases' as women: anorexia and body dysmorphic disorder, to name just two. I blame the magazines. Check out GQ, Maxim, or Men's Health sometime if you don't believe me; they're just as bad as Glamour and Cosmo, if not worse. But I guess blaming the magazines isn't fair, is it? They only exist because our society provides a demand for them. They're selling slick and glossy brightly packaged messages that none of us are good enough and we keep paying, and paying and paying. And guess what, we will never be good enough, and it will get harder and harder to be anyone.
So here's what we do: let's stop using our hard-earned dollars to fund this insidious multi-front war on ourselves. Don't buy the magazines. Let our kids play with whatever they want. Let our boys cry, give them the same attention we would give a crying girl. Encourage our sons and our daughters to be nurses or fighter pilots, or butchers or candlestick makers, whatever they're interested in. If our husbands (or wives) want to quit their high-paying, society-approved jobs and do something they really love, hooray! Find a way to help them do it. Dump the unreasonable and burdensome one-size-fits-all demands we put on every single one of us every day. Pretty soon we'll all be free to be you and me; I can see the rainbows and smell the unicorn poop now!
Well, I'm back. I didn't really mean to take a blogging vacation. I guess I just... did. So here's the latest.
The picture is of Weston playing with some new and dangerous dinosaurs. We were walking to church this morning and saw this set of pewter dinosaurs. There are four of them and they were approximately $17. I know I am a total sucker, because I am completely unable to bargain and Lloyd wasn't there, but I had some won burning a hole in my pocket and couldn't resist. After church we had lunch at a little Korean restaurant off the beaten path, followed by an ice cream cone at the Baskin-Robbins on the 'strip'. The lunch was 11,000 won; the cones were 12,000 won. Funny, huh?
I have some posts in the works; my favorite one is all about how hard it is to be a man. Really, it's true! This is a subject that troubles me deeply and I have some VERY important thoughts about it that I positively need to share with everyone. And, you probably haven't noticed, but I took my counter down. I found that I was entirely too concerned about how many hits there were. It was very freeing to do away with it, kind of like when you toss the scale in the closet and cover it up with broken toys, dirty winter coats, shopping bags and shoes. Or when you switch to the wine in a box so you don't have to watch the level drop and ruin all your fun. At the same time, I am quite interested in knowing what kinds of posts people like the best, so I'm thinking of putting up a poll later this week. I often have vicious internal debates about what to post, and I think a little bloggy input would be most welcome.
Other than that, it's all quiet on the northern front, my friends, and we all know how that ends, right?
My thriftiness knows no bounds, my friends! Look what I've done now! Shane has needed a haircut for AGES, and last night I decided to take matters into my own hands, saving approximately $8. I didn't really WANT to do it; his little curls are so cute and I would have totally just let them grow until Lloyd squealed about him looking like a girl, but he doesn't always like having it combed and he gets these little matted proto-dreds. Those, too, were cute, but I was worried he might get fruit flies, and the Pig-pen look is not the greatest.
Some of you might think I'm not capable of a reasonable hair-cutting job, all because of some ridiculous, greatly exaggerated dog trimming incident that may or may not have occurred MANY years ago. For the record, she SAID I could do it; it's not my fault her dog doesn't trim well. I'm not going to let The Man keep me down anymore! If I want to cut hair, I will! Wanna come over? I'll snip you up reaaaaaalllll nice.
And all this hair cutting has another benefit: now I have a ziploc baggie full of matted dirty blond curls to add to my Christmas list. Also, one of my more brilliant readers pointed out that I also have a bunch of unused and expensive coffee filters. So, now I have dried beans, lint, fingernail clippings, hair trimmings and coffee filters. Crafty paradise awaits!
As you might recall, lately we've been living the frugal life, practicing for when we might need to eat dandelions and dried up worms off the sidewalk instead of the delicious recipes I've been making with goods purchased from the commissary. Of course, the savings come in handy; someday I might really need that extra $3 I made by depriving myself of the Kettle's Salt and Pepper potato chips that make my life tolerable, but mostly we have nothing better to do.
We have been trying new money-saving techniques every week. This week, I dumped the small bits of shampoo left in six different bottles together and shook it up into a homogenous mixture. Then I bought the conditioner that was on sale at the commissary for $0.69, saving me between $8 and $20, depending on which shampoo and conditioner I would have otherwise purchased. I have also been using cheap soap instead of facial wash, and frankly, my skin and hair are just as beautiful as they've ever been. I also use the cheap soap for Weston and Shane instead of the $4 bottles of baby wash and shampoo that they just dump out into the tub. They're just as clean, and when they throw hard soap at each other in the tub the bruises are free, because no soap is lost in the process. That saves about a quarter for each bathtub fight, which adds up to about a million dollars so far.
Even my morning coffee is not exempt from our ruthless cost-cutting measures. This morning, I switched to the french press instead of the coffee maker. The french press is smaller so it takes less coffee, and we don't need a filter. Those filters cost several cents apiece, you know. The only flaw I see so far is that right now is that it's not even 9 a.m. and I'm already making my third batch. But the potential extra coffee cost is more than offset by all the cost-saving ideas that are swirling around in my head. I swear, there are more with every sip! For example, one of the best ways to save money is to use the things you already have, instead of buying new things. Weston's birthday and the holidays are coming up, so I'm trying to think of great presents that are generated from items we don't have to buy. The things we have in ample supply are beans, dryer lint and fingernail clippings; ever since I cured my nail-biting habit with tapping, those those sharp little cuttings are coming out of my ears. At first I thought we could use them for toothpicks, but they're not quite long enough, so it was back to the drawing board on that one. I haven't quite worked all the kinks out of my gift-giving plan, but I'm pretty sure I just need a little more coffee; I'll keep you posted.
Woo hoo! Time to go, an entire day all to myself! I hope I have enough food, a whole day is a long time if you don't have enough snacks.
Boy, this bus sure is filling up quick. Maybe I should get off and do something else instead, all by myself for an entire day. But what? Dammit, I guess I'm trapped on this bus. I hope I don't have to pee, why do none of these Korean buses have toilets?! I REALLY hope I like the ONE book I brought. Yay! Time to go, no one sitting by me. NO! don't sit by me... no, no, no. Especially not you, Vin Diesel.
Sweet! I have the only empty seat on the bus next to me, SUCKERS!
Hmm, this History Channel DMZ program on the bus television screen is interesting. I had no idea they were such nasty bastards up there. I don't think a lot of people realize how evil they really are. Fifty-nine years of failed diplomacy, dead soldiers and civilians, terrorist attacks, kidnappings, torture, drug running, counterfeiting, threats and oppression. I'm definitely a boobs not bombs kind of girl but those kitten-munching Dick Cheney types might be on to something when it comes to Kim Jong Il and his buddies.
Boy, this sure is a long bus ride. It's a good thing I like this book. I knew I was going to have to pee! Are we ever going to get there? Rice paddy, rice paddy, rice paddy..... Hungry, hungry, hungry... this bus ride is FOREVER. Mmmmm, jerky and chocolate, much better!
Oooh, here we are at Imjingak Resort Park. Right, great, where's the bathroom? Carefully check the door sign, and.... success! Ah.... Let's see, peace bell, Bridge of No Return, Prayer Wall, war memorials. This memorial for Japanese American Korean war dead is interesting; Koreans hate Japan after centuries of occupation and oppression. Boy, Korean history sure is depressing. Hey! Where did that guy get that coffee from?? Ahhh, much better. This stuff isn't half bad for Korean tourist park coffee. The stones of peace wall; that's pretty cool. I'd like to have a better look if those stupid Homers with their cameras would get out of my way. Cool, some rusty found object art. Back on the bus, Gus.
Dude! Look at these ugly-ass North Korean shoes and underwear. If that doesn't ruin communisn for you, nothing will! What the hell is this reunification propoganda? The path to reunification wall takes up the entire building and they are exactly nowhere. Good luck with that one, optimistic suckers. Oh look, a lady with a baby. That's weird; I miss the boys. That wasn't supposed to happen. Hey, lunchtime! I definitely have to learn to make that kimchi stew. I'll pass on those crinkle cut fries and white dinner rolls, thanks. Time to head out of here, where is that stupid bus? Driver's not back yet. Rats, left my book on the bus and I'm so tired of looking at North Korea. It's so boring; they don't DO anything. No roads, no cars, nothing going on. Maybe I should meditate! Really take advantage of my kid-free day. Ommmmmm.... oh, wait! Maybe this border town parking lot isn't the best place to close my eyes and zone out.
This train to nowhere sure is strange, and they're really proud of their visit from George Bush in 2002 (note: George is in the background of the photo, NOT the foreground).
Jeez, this tour guide/armed guard talks fast. What? What? I can barely understand you! Oooh, now I'm in South Korea, now I'm in North Korea. South Korea, North Korea. Cool, heh heh.
What? A tunnel? Oh, hell no; there is no way you're getting me in there. It's a good thing I'm not in charge in keeping South Korea free of tunnel-bound invaders, because I'd just let them have it. Is it time to go yet?
Phew, home again, home again, my fat hen. I wonder if the boys missed me. What? You kind of forgot about me all day? Huh.
It's a dang good thing I think I look good in green, because I'm jealous of lots of things: blogs that are cuter than mine, people whose jeans aren't constantly on the verge of revolt, and people who don't have ziploc baggies of molding bread in their laundry rooms. Mostly I can stand it, barely, but today, I left drool marks all over my 'dining room' window.
Behold: here's the scene from a lucky someone's moving day. It's a little hazy, between the saliva and the ever-present small particle pollution, but you can still clearly see those big brown boxes of kimchi pots and knockoff purses eagerly awaiting their trip out of Korea, never to return. We started moving in our hearts and minds, and out of our storage room months ago, but things aren't progressing quite fast enough for me. It's sort of like being pregnant with an elephant. Not that I would know, no matter what it looked like.
We have made a list of all the last things we want to do in Korea, and we have been faithfully checking them off. Purchase Kimchi pots, check! Purchase Korean kitchen sink (this one was totally Lloyd, I'm sure you realize), check! Next on the list is the DMZ tour. Now, I'm extra-specially careful not to broadcast my movements in advance or share information that would come in handy for North Korean terrorists, so details later. And you can rest assured, your dirty little Osan secrets are safe with me!
Weston LOVES learning about the planets and outer space. As a result, we have read tons of books about the discovery of the planets and their orbits and scientific discoveries. Interestingly, a lot of the things that we think of as 17th and 18th century advances, such as Kepler's laws of planetary motion, were actually previously discovered by the Greeks and Romans. For example, the Antikythera Mechanism is accurate solar model and eclipse predictor, constructed in approximately 80 B.C. It contains differential gears that prior to its discovery were thought to have first been used in 18th century clocks. Similar advances in medicine, math, and other fields were also made. If progress had continued unabated after the 5th century, humans would be in Star Trek city right now, baby. Either that or we would have blown ourselves to smithereens already, whichever.
What happened? Oooh, I'm glad you asked. After the fall of Rome, early Christians went on the warpath against anything that they decided, in their infinite arrogance, was contrary to God's word. One of their targets was science that suggested that perhaps Earth was not the center of the universe. After all, they knew what God said, and they knew what God meant, and clearly, anyone who hypothesized otherwise was a heretic who deserved to die. Angry Christian mobs burned entire libraries of hard-won knowledge and murdered scientists, plunging much of the world into the dark ages. The world will never know what all was lost because of these early extremists who drove the western world into darkness, chaos and fear.
Today, these misguided and evil people are back with a vengeance. Extremists in any form are dangerous- a great example is Al Qaeda, but they're not alone. Christian extremists are just as scary, and maybe even more dangerous because many of us buy their self-righteous 'Army for God' crap. There is no difference between them and the Taliban or devil worshippers; they're just more familiar and so they seem innocuous. And, they can be hard to disagree with, because they try to make it seem like it you're not with them, you're against God. But the bottom line is, they're still a bunch of bullies that are killing doctors and trying to halt scientific progress, all because they think, in their infinite arrogance, that they know the mind of God. Now, I'm not too bright, but I'm thinking a God that created humans would know that their God-given curiosity would drive them to explore their surroundings. Perhaps that's even what he intended, hmmm? He knew what he was doing, right?
'The enemy of my enemy is my friend' has never been more true and 'their' evil, hate-filled bigots are no worse than 'our' evil, hate-filled bigots. Unfortunately they have a common target: all the rest of us. They should just set up training camps together to save money, since their targets are the same. Al Qaeda and similar groups are just a little more blatant about their intent, making similar 'Christian' groups even more insidious. They're doing it for your own good, after all; surely none of the rest of us can be trusted to make our own decisions or figure things out for ourselves. I don't claim to know for sure, but I bet neither Jesus nor Mohammed would so much as let any of these clowns be their friends on Facebook, and the rest of us should follow their good examples.
Every weeknight at 5:30, the giant speakers play the Korean national anthem, followed by 'The Star-Spangled banner'. At 5:29, people all over the base scurry indoors so they won't be forced to stand still, facing the flag for the interminable 4 minutes and 33 seconds it takes to play the songs.
When the warning horns sound, cars on the road stop, joggers halt in their tracks, and Weston and Shane run out onto the deck.
Weston takes protocol VERY seriously, and stands solemnly with his hand over his heart for both anthems. Shane is, how shall we say, a touch more cavalier about the whole thing. He points at the cars parked in the road: Taxi! Dat taxi!' He shrieks at the people stopped on the sidewalk: 'Hey, who dat? Hey! HEY!' Oh, and he usually has no pants on. At our house, everyone salutes the flag in their own way. And that's okay. God bless America, land of the free and home of the brave.
So! Let's talk pots! Now that the weather is changing and feeling a little fallish, it FINALLY seems like we'll be moving soon. One of the things I have been wanting to do before we move is buy some kimchi pots, but I wanted to wait until just before we move so we don't have them sitting around taking up room in our apartment. Fall is coming and I wasn't sure if the kimchi pot store has winter hours, so we decided to spend labor day shopping for fair trade, locally made, environmentally friendly goods. The pots are big brown crocks with lids that Koreans use to make kimchi, a fermented cabbage dish. The pots are in every yard, and Koreans eat kimchi for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I don't think I'll be making much kimchi but the pots make nice planters or garden art. Sorry about the picture, it is right side up in the photo library and I have no idea how to fix it.
Then, we went to Emart to buy Weston a piggy bank. On the way, we saw a new Home Plus/Tesco store and decided to check it out. The store wasn't that great so we didn't stay long, and on the way out, I stopped to go to the restroom. It was a quiet morning at Home Plus and there was no one in the bathroom when I went in. I walked in, passed a row of urinals, and went into a stall. I sat down, and thought, hmmm, that was strange; why would there be urinals in here? I looked around and realized that the things you always see in a stall in the ladies room were missing. Hmm, stranger still; this here Korea sure is a weird place, I thought. Then I heard the unmistakable sound of a man in the bathroom and I realized I was trapped in a stall in the mens room in a Korean discount store. Yep. There was nothing to do but march right out to where I left Lloyd, scream 'RUN!' and bolt for the car. So that's what we did and we will never discuss it again. We went to Emart and found no piggy banks that meet our exacting specifications, so we came home and Lloyd made one out of a juice bottle. It's just the right size to double as a pee receptacle, if you're someone who likes to go shopping but has vowed never to use a public restroom again.
In honor of Labor Day, I read a new book called 'Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture' by Ellen Ruppel Shell. It's a good read, a little dry in places, but very interesting. The main point is that our obsession with cheap goods reaps all sorts of ill effects on culture, the world economy and the environment. Cheap initial costs hide the multitude of true costs. When consumers care about the lowest price to the exclusion of all other factors, retailers are forced to cut costs as much as possible in order to compete with one another. They cut wages for clerks, stockpersons and other employees. They force manufacturers to lower their wholesale costs, which forces manufacturers to seek cheaper and cheaper labor and supplies. This, of course, is what causes human rights violations in sweatshops and factories and environmental catastrophes. Manufacturers believe they can't afford to pay decent wages and comply with environmental regulations and still produce goods cheap enough to appeal to our insatiable desire for piles of inferior goods and therefore enrich themselves. Smaller producers are driven out of business, resulting in most of the world's goods being made by a handful of behemoth conglomerates. Let's face it: the unassailable fact is that it costs a lot more to make a table out of legally and sustainably harvested timber and fair wage labor than from an illegal clear cut in a third world country. A dress made out of clean harvest cotton by a reasonably-paid and a reasonably-treated labor force has to be more expensive than one made out of pesticide-contaminated fabric by abused and exploited sweatshop workers.
These giant corporations have the deep pockets necessary to spend lots of cash lobbying governments in order to keep environmental, consumer protection and workplace laws suppressed in their favor so their production costs are even lower, so the small number of executives at the top of the food chain can make even more money at the expense of the consumer and the workforce. Every day, companies fight efforts to require fair wages and benefits, fair labeling laws and regulations that require them to clean up their own hazardous waste and control dangerous emissions. And a lot of times, they win. Why? Because they have the money to pay the lawyers and lobbyists; money they get from you and me. There's no money in consumer and environmental protection, and therefore no one to fight them except for us.
Ruppel Shell uses a great example with milk: If a marketplace has two kinds of clearly labeled milk for sale, say pure milk for a dollar and watered down milk for fifty cents, consumers can purchase whichever they choose and both buyer and seller are happy. If the milk producers start watering down the milk and not labeling it, the sellers of pure milk will be screwed, because consumers will buy the watered down milk thinking it's pure and won't pay the additional cost for the real stuff. Sellers of real milk will sell less and less because consumers will think they're being cheated by the higher price. Pretty soon the sellers of real milk will either be forced to go along with the program and water down their milk, too, so they can compete or be driven out of business, The end result is that consumers will no longer have a choice; they can only buy crappy milk because that's all that's available. This is what has happened in every single industry on earth. Each and every television is made by one of three companies. Dozens of automobile manufacturers have been reduced to a handful, and all new cars look alike. Consumers have no real choice and goods are limitless but of low quality.
So, pretty depressing, huh? But there are things we can do. We're like the ants in The Bug's Life and we need to stand up to those dirty rat-finking grasshoppers. There's a lot more of us than them and if we band together we can mow them right over. Know the real cost of your consumer goods and be willing to pay the true price in cash up front, instead of in pain and suffering for people all over the world for years to come. Look for locally made goods and locally grown foods. Patronize your neighborhood stores instead of the big boxes. Pay attention to where things come from and ask the hard questions about how goods in America can have such a low initial cost, and where the true cost is being hidden. Shop at your local thrift store. Keep track of how your representatives vote on the important consumer and environmental issues, and let them know what you think. Go hiking on Labor Day instead of shopping the sale at the mall. Ants unite! Power to the people!
Here are some pictures from Buraksan State Park. The park is very close to Osan and great for hiking with woods and hilly paths, both paved and dirt. You can see the rice paddy behind the boys and in the close-up. I'm not sure what the red flower is but I hadn't seen it before, and it has an unusual appearance in that it resembles a freaky looking brain.
In other weekend news, I have cured Lloyd of one of his bad habits with a single tapping session. He gnaws on the inside of his cheeks and calls it 'chewing his sides'. Other members of his family do it, too, and he has been afflicted since he was a small child.
Now he's clean and healed up, but he says he doesn't believe in tapping. He thinks it's all in his mind and I could have tapped him anywhere with the same effect. I say, it doesn't matter if you believe in the tapping or not, because the tapping believes in YOU.
And of course, the ever-thrilling dinner report: flank steak sliced and served over pan grilled peppers, onions and fresh garden cilantro and parsley and sweet potato fries.
I have been VERY diligent with my planned meals, my friends. I consult my planner every single day to see what is for dinner, but not everything is turning out quite like I pictured. This meal, for example, was supposed to be the grand-prize winning lime cilantro chicken.
The cilantro met a slimy and untimely demise in the refrigerator and I was only able to salvage a few leaves, so I chopped up some tomatoes and onions too and made more of a salsa-ish topping. I marinated the chicken in lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, then pan fried it and served it over rice with corn on the side. It was really quite delish, one of my better attempts so far.
The hardest part was finding a clean surface to take a picture on, and I have to say, it's a pretty sad day when the cleanest part of my kitchen is the floor. I see I could possibly have tried to find a plate with no chips in it, but the queen wasn't coming so I didn't bother. Tonight: turkey meatball soup in a rusty bowl.
Breastfeeding, as you may know, is a subject near and dear to my heart. You can read how it all began with Lactating Superfriends, or read a more recent rant about the evils of formula companies here.
Everyone in the universe should read Motherhood Uncensored's outstanding post Breastfeeding is a privilege, not a right. It's about a woman in Ohio who was fired from her factory job for taking 'unauthorized' breaks to pump milk for her baby, while co-workers received no censure for taking similar breaks to smoke. The facility was a Totes/Isotoner factory, if you need any more reasons not to buy any ugly small umbrellas or stretchy gloves.
And thanks to Stefanie for the title idea. I did little to no real work, you have plenty to read, and I didn't even have to think of my own title. Now, that's what I call optimization!
After a long and distinguished career as an Air Force spouse, I will be retiring in the spring with the treadmarks from Uncle Sam's boots still on my ass everlasting gratitude of my country and a miniscule small barely adequate if I was a German Sheperd pension. We will be moving to the Puget Sound area, and Lloyd will have to find a job so we have food. Let's face it: no one ever got rich off the military. Except Dick Cheney, of course, and he only eats elderly nuns, crippled children and wide-eyed kittens. I hear he likes the kittens best because he loves to suck the juice out of their eyeballs and spit the skins at the crippled children just before he crunches their bones between his teeth. It's probably just one of those internet rumors, though. Like the one about my stripper pole. Sheesh, don't people have better things to do than make up ridiculous stories and spread them around the internet?
Anyway, Lloyd would like to work as a pilot, but we recently read a stories about these guys, so I'm not sure how well that's going to work out. I mean, only so many pilots can work the street corners in one town before they start having turf wars, right? I can just see them strutting down the sidewalks in their most enticing uniforms, pushing and shoving each other to get to the best prospective employers: 'Hey, Mister! Over here! I'll take you around the world! Satisfaction guaranteed!'
Major economic indicators at Osan (knockoff bag and pirated video sales) are strong and unchanged from the time of our arrival here. Back in Seattle, where the intellectual property theft that drives the economy is lost to the annals of history instead of parading itself on every street corner, apparently the conditions are not quite so rosy, and it might be a while before Lloyd finds a job. Before you get all huffy, yes, I could work and leave Lloyd home with the boys. We did talk about that but we agree that it's better if he works for money instead of me. Plus my main skills these days are tapping and producing milk, and there's not much of a market for those. But there totally SHOULD be. I have an awesome idea for building a human milk factory but I can't seem to find any investors.
In light of our upcoming reality, we are doing some things differently now. We're practicing for the days to come when we have to make Christmas presents out of empty beer cans and tape and play with boogers instead those spendy thrift store toys. We have stopped throwing away diapers after only one use, and for dessert we make the boys lick the old popsicle juice and applesauce spatters off the walls. And I only go to the thrift store on bag sale day. Oh, okay, that one's a lie. I would NEVER skip the thrift store just to save a little money.
But the big exciting change is meal planning. For every day in September, I have plans for both lunch and dinner. Some days I have complete meals figured out but I still have some holes to fill. People claim you can save tons of money on groceries by doing this because you buy just what you need to make your pre-planned meals instead of throwing things willy-nilly into the cart. I'm not sure who these 'people' are but maybe they're on to something here.
I'll keep you posted as September progresses. Tonight is lime cilantro chicken. I have no recipe, but I figure I'll just make one up and enter it in the Pillsbury bake-off contest and win the million dollars. Who knew meal planning could be so lucrative? I just need to incorporate some refrigerated dough of the appropriate brand and come up with a snazzy name. I think 'Island Chicken' has a nice ring to it. I could put it on sticks and bake it with the biscuit dough, sort of like a Cuban corn dog.
That's the news from the kitchen in Korea! And, Lloyd's your man if you're looking for a pilot to take you on a wild trip. In an airplane, I mean.
Fourteen dollars. For fourteen dollars you can buy a tub of lower-end night cream. You could buy a new sports bra on sale, a diet book, two brow waxes plus tip at the BX, or an iron.
Fortunately, I don't need any of those stupid and useless things. Instead, I took my fourteen dollars to the thrift store on bag sale day and came home with a hot pink purse by Matt and Nat (or a Korean facsimile, natch), an elephant print scarf, two pairs of new looking shoes for Weston for next year (one pair are Keens), space pajamas for Shane, three books for the boys, four nice shirts for me and a pair of flannel lined pants that will fit Weston this (cold, Korean) winter.
I know I promised something new and exciting today; I do realize that most people do not consider my thrift store purchases very fascinating, and almost no one is interested in lengthy discussions about thrifting philosophy. I am a very poor dinner guest, as you have probably long suspected. I really do have something different, coming soon, but you probably still don't want to invite me to dinner.